Trump Goes to War With Koch Brothers

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Charles Koch, the 82-year-old billionaire and head of the Koch political network, also told reporters tariffs implemented by the president "could" cause a recession in the US if the effects are "severe enough" and suggested his group could dial back fundraising support of Republicans who don't work to oppose the president's unilateral trade moves.

President Donald Trump on Tuesday blasted influential conservative donors Charles and David Koch, dubbing them a "total joke" who are "against Strong Borders and Powerful Trade".

But as Trump has sought to pull his party toward more protectionist trade positions, backers of free trade policies like the Koch network have been reluctant to provide support.

On Twitter, Trump ripped the brothers for "bad ideas" and bragged: "I made them richer". "I have beaten them at every turn".

The public spat with the Kochs comes less than four months before the November 6 midterm congressional elections that have Trump's fellow Republicans seeking to maintain control of both chambers of Congress and lay bare the ongoing internal debate in the Republican Party about trade policy. We do the ground game because we're not going to equivocate on who we're going to support.

Charles Koch himself stopped short of blaming the president for the partisan rancour.

In response to the president's tweet, network spokesperson James Davis played down the criticism. Heidi Heitkamp. Heitkamp is one of the most vulnerable Democratic seats in the midterm elections and if Cramer takes her seat, it could help them keep the majority. "But if you're a Democrat and you stand up to Elizabeth Warren and corral enough votes for financial reform. you're darn right we'll work with you".

The Koch network also ran ads against Republican House lawmaker Lou Barletta of Pennsylvania for wasteful spending, telling the Philadelphia Enquirer it chose to target races where it thought it could "elevate" the spending issue.

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Former Trump advisor Steve Bannon, in an interview published Sunday, told the Kochs to "shut up and get with the program".

The conservative Koch brothers' network declared Monday that it will not help elect the Republican Senate candidate in North Dakota, turning its back on the GOP in a marquee election - at least for now.

Asked if Democrats were to retake control of the House, he said, "I don't care what initials are in front, or after, somebody's name...."

Colorado-based energy investor Chris Wright, a longtime Koch donor, said the Republican Party may have lost its way in the age of Trump.

Officials for the Koch network said that AFP is now involved in seven races this midterm cycle across six states: Wisconsin, Missouri, Tennessee, Michigan, Nevada and Florida. Back then, he criticized Koch-backed politicians as "puppets".

Other Koch donors said they still were taking a wait-and-see approach on Trump's trade policies to see if they worked.

The Kochs refused to endorse Mr Trump's presidential campaign in 2016, but after he won they found common ground, especially on tax cuts.